25 August 2011


I grew up in Manhattan and am no stranger to tight spaces.  My parents slept on a sofabed in the living room for about 8 years when I was growing up, an astonishingly generous solution to ensuring that my sister and I each had our own room.  Even with my own room, however, we were all on top of each other.  One bathroom the size of a phone booth was often crammed with the entire family trying to bathe, brush teeth, and even pee (there wasn't too much privacy, either).

I find that I have not moved very far in my life, either geographically as I am only 10 miles from where I grew up, or in square footage.  Our apartment now is divine, an absolute Brooklyn gem.  It has the ultimate apartment trifecta; a back yard, a basement, and a working fireplace.  Our landlords are like family and we adore our neighborhood. We are packed like sardines in here, however, all trying to maintain civility through an elaborate waltz with too many partners.

Roan is still sleeping in Sam's and my room, which is not too bad since he is a sound sleeper, but Lula has been sleeping in the living room for months now because my mom sleeps in the nursery when she is here two nights a week. Those nights we have two babies, a dog and four adults (including the night nurse) in about 700 square feet.

Finally it seemed absurd that Lula was still sleeping in the living room.  We would be cooking, eating, watching tv, talking, etc while she was trying to sleep.  She was still in a portable crib that was getting too small for her.  We wanted her to have a room of her own, where she could sleep like a normal child.  I did a little rearranging, mostly squirreling away medical devices and supplies.

Big girl crib
Painting by Cecelia Rembert
Lula napping in her new digs

Somehow this feels like a small but lovely triumph to me.  For so long Lula was so fussy and fragile that we couldn't even think of leaving her lying in bed alone for more than a few minutes.  She has had no time to herself.  It didn't really occur to me how nice it would be for her to have that until I saw her sleeping soundly in her crib with the door open to the back yard and the sound of water from the pond as background music.

The trick with this is where my mom would sleep.  Last night she tried to sleep in the room with Lula, but that was a bust.  The night nurse tried so hard to be quiet but mom slept badly and the nurse couldn't see anything.  Tonight we are trying yet another arrangement and we moved the mattress from the nursery to the living room floor, next to Gracie's dog bed.  Once again, my mom has been relegated to the living room for the sake of the kids.  She's being such a good sport about it, commenting on how cozy her little nook in the corner is.

Tonight Lula fell asleep in no time at about 8pm and has been sound asleep ever since.  We had an uninterrupted dinner and viewing of Project Runway.  A slice of normalcy that seems like a gift right now.

Bedtime story

Sound asleep in her very own room


  1. Aw mikaela, this is so darned sweet I dunno what to say, except of course state the obvious that it is so darn sweet. I think about the space thing a lot too, and what I've come up with is that living like packed sardines is better than being a really lonely lone sardine. Slumber party, woohoo!

  2. What a sweet little spot for Lula. And, such wonderful decor! I'm glad to see the wedge is still working for her. I think of you all so often, just beyond our back window.